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Missing Work and Quitting Work: Child Care-Related Employment Problems

  • Margaret L. Usdansky

    (Syracuse University)

  • Douglas A. Wolf

    (Syracuse University)

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    Qualitative research points to logistical problems in coordinating child care as a key obstacle to maternal employment for low-income mothers. But quantitative research has largely overlooked this everyday aspect of combining work and family. This article provides quantitative analyses of child-care related employment problems among urban working mothers of infants and asks how social support, the complexity of work and care arrangements and demographic characteristics relate to these problems. We use the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study to estimate logistic regression models of child care failure and missing or quitting work due to care-related problems. Child-care related problems are widespread regardless of race, class or family structure. Mothers with potential backup providers are less likely to experience care-related problems. Mothers who hold more than one job, use more than one care provider or change providers encounter problems more often. Logistical challenges surrounding child care represent a serious obstacle to continued employment for all urban working mothers. Care-related employment problems are more closely associated with the availability of backup care and the complexity of work and care arrangements than with class. These problems merit further study given their potential impact on the gender wage gap.

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    Paper provided by Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing. in its series Working Papers with number 922.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:pri:crcwel:wp06-20-ff
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    1. Wenjui Han & Jane Waldfogel, 2001. "Child Care Costs and Women's Employment: A Comparison of Single and Married Mothers With Pre-School-Aged Children," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 82(3), pages 552-568.
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